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To begin, tell us about your educational background. What did you study, both before and at KEDGE?
Théo: I moved to the USA in 2015, alone, in a country I didn’t know, with a language I hadn’t mastered. The months went by and I fell in love with the country. The end of that year was coming up, and the education costs in America were too high to stay, so I didn’t have the choice of staying. Determined, I looked for a business college so I could return to France. That’s how I found out about KEDGE’s IBBA (Bachelor of Business Administration).
Hugo: After taking a prep course for business colleges in Saint Jean de Douai, I enrolled in KEDGE’s GEP (Grande Ecole Programme) on the Marseille campus. The decision to go to that campus was an obvious one for me because its setting is so idyllic. I elected to specialise in finance with the idea of working in the investment banking sector once I graduated
Were you either of you members of any student associations when you were at KEDGE?
Théo: My entry into KEDGE in 2016 went extremely well and all that remained was to build up a solid CV to integrate into the business world. The key is to join an association that is closely linked to the corporate world. This narrowed the list down to Marketing Méditerranée, AGS, and ACCEDE Provence Entrepreneurs. During the interviews, I was able to demonstrate my reasons for joining these associations and I was accepted by ACCEDE! So I became the Partnership Manager. This associative experience proved to be beneficial, as it allowed me to learn new skills that were complementary to my courses, especially soft skills, which were important in their own right. What's more, this associative experience allowed me to certify my Pro-Act.
Hugo: When I started in September 2020, I was bursting with ambition and wanted to make the most of my time there. It is quite natural for me to join Marketing Méditerranée, the Junior Enterprise of KEDGE Marseille, for a year, first as a Junior Consultant and then as a Sales Manager. I was able to familiarize myself with the world of consulting by working for major accounts, institutions, very small and small to medium-sized businesses (VSE-SMEs), and start-ups. I also acquired a very important set of skills in the field. That experience was a real springboard for the rest of my studies.
Rell us what you did after your studies were finished. What positions have you held? What did you learn in those positions?
Théo: Four years later, in June 2020, my desire to attend KEDGE so I could go to the USA transformed into a desire to explore the world. The interactions with others and internships, that made up two and half years of the four-year IBBA programme gave me the chance to. I went to Switzerland, Germany, Canada, then New Zealand – so many countries and cultures that complemented the formation of a personality. I wanted to get a good GMAT score to get a Master in Management and London appealed. In order to finance this year, working in a startup at the same time seemed like a good idea. Little did I know that this startup world would completely consume me! After a position in a tech startup as a business developer, I resigned to work for another, younger, and even more exciting one, as Head of Sales & Marketing. These experiences, in addition to my two 6-month internships, one in Digital Marketing at Vilebrequin, and one doing Retail Performance Consulting at BMW Group, gave me the skill sets needed to create develop Halto.co.
Hugo: Since I was still a student at KEDGE, I was able to do internships as part of my gap year: six months at a Private Equity Fund in Paris and six months in a Fusion and Acquisition company in Lyon. Those two experiences were particularly valuable as I became familiar with financial valuation models and learn about the rewards of entrepreneurship.
What are you doing today? What gave you the idea and the desire to do what you’re doing today?
Halto was born when three kedgers met: Théo, Claude and Hugo. Claude is an outstanding connoisseur and our spirits specialist. He’s in charge of the recipes. His motto: To create good recipes, you need to use good products. Théo is the globe trotter of the group. He has been to all five continents. Because of his travels, encounters, and experiences he wanted to highlight the different regions of the world. As for Hugo, he is the ecologist of the three. He has had bees, sheep, and uses only organic products from local distribution networks. So he’s in charge of working on the neutrality of our carbon footprint.
Halto markets DIY rum kits to offer a fun, exotic, and eco-responsible experience:
Fun: the kits are part of a complete, ready-to-use experience. You should taste the mixture (4-5 days of maceration) regularly and adjust it so that it matches each person’s personal taste.
Exotic: the recipes are inspired by different regions of the world and concocted by specialists
Eco-responsible: with the exception of the bottle labels, everything is recyclable and our cartons don’t use ink. Our products come from organic and/or sustainable agriculture sources and then transported to France by sea ... Some are even transported by sailboat.
What are your development goals?
We are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to acquire a local shop and simply our processes to meet growing demand. Our medium-term goals are to increase the number of products, and who knows, maybe draw the attention of giants in the industry.
If you were to give advice to any KEDGE graduate who wants to do something similar, what would it be? And how did the education you received at KEDGE Business School help you become who you are today, and what was it about its teachings helped you develop your business/ project?
Go for it! Life is too short to have regrets.
Theo contributes his knowledge in Marketing, and Claude and Hugo their financial and commercial skills. The Alumni network is was also key to getting this project off the ground. In fact, we recently contacted KEDGE Alumni who work in the journalism field to write their press release.